The earliest example of surviving mail was found in a chieftain's burial located in Ciumești, Romania. Its invention is commonly credited to the Celts, but there are examples of Etruscan pattern mail dating from at least the 4th century BCE. Mail may have been inspired by the much earlier scale armour. Mail spread to North Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Tibet, South East Asia, and Japan.
Herodotus wrote that the ancient Persians wore scale armor, but mail is also distinctly mentioned in the Avesta, the ancient holy scripture of the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism that was founded by the prophet Zoroaster in the 5th century BC.
Mail continues to be used in the 21st century as a component of stab-resistant body armour, cut-resistant gloves for butchers and woodworkers, shark-resistant wetsuits for defense against shark bites, and a number of other applications.